Like the members of our physical bodies, each member of the body of Christ is significant and dependent on one another.
That the church is the "body of Christ" is more than simply a figure of speech. The church is the chief means by which Christ works today; it is an extension of him. We all have a physical body; that's where Paul begins his teaching. "Just as the body is one and yet has many members," he says, "so also is Christ." In other, it is not only the church that is the body of Christ; the church and Christ together constitute the body of Christ.
When you stand in front of a mirror and look at your body, you'll notice that it is divided into two major sections: the head and the torso. The head is the control center of the body. The torso is both the largest part and the part to which the membersarms, legs, and handsare attached. The human body, examined this way, will help us understand how the church is to function.
We are part of Christ. What an amazing statement! We constitute the means by which he functions in the world. The church is a body with many members, and yet it's only one body. It's not many bodies, many denominations. They're all connected by sharing the same life, and they're connected to the head so that they function as his means of expressing his life in this world.
How do we become part of the body?
We weren't born into Christ's body as infants. Paul's explains, "For by one Spirit, we were all baptized into one body." It was through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which was predicted by John the Baptist and Jesus and fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost that the church was created. It is through faith in Christ, who baptizes us in the Holy Spirit, that we become part of the living Christ. When somebody asks you, "Have you been baptized by the Holy Spirit?" the answer for every Christian is yes. ...
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The late Ray Stedman was pastor of Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, California, and author of several books including For Such a Time as This (Discovery House).